Cover art, also known as "album art" or "album artwork", is artwork that provides a visual representation of a release. Normally it refers to the front of the release packaging, but the Cover Art Archive can store images of the back of the release packing, of the media itself, and of many other pieces — right down to the sticker on the shrinkwrap.
Why Should I Submit Cover Art?
Through-out the history of the public internet, there have been many databases built to provide cover art for music releases - and although MusicBrainz' supports cover artwork being uploaded and linked to releases, it is not the primary focus for the website.
Cover art on MusicBrainz is often used as a form of evidence for the data that appears in the database, this can include elements such as tracklist sequencing, performance and composition credits, licensing and publishing information, details about locations of recordings and performance, information about recording and transfer technologies used and for physical releases, pressing information.
By submitting cover art with your submission, another contributor of MusicBrainz can quickly check and confirm that the information that has been supplied is accurate - accuracy is paramount to the goal of MusicBrainz.
For this reason sourcing cover art can be slightly tricky, and not as simple as copying the first image returned from a search engine.
Regarding physical releases, the best method is to use an imaging device such as a scanner or a camera to take a clear and legible representation of the article in question.
Regarding digital releases, the best method is to take a copy of the artwork directly from the distribution platform that the digital release was made available via, for example Bandcamp, Spotify, Apple Music.
If sourcing your cover art from an already existing database, or another archive, take additional care to ensure it accurately matches the release you are attaching it to.
See the Usage heading for more information about how to add cover art to a release.
Any fan-made or edited artwork is not to be uploaded to any release, with the exception of bootleg releases where said artwork was released with the unofficial release. Fan art can be added to fanart.tv, which is linked to MusicBrainz release groups, and can be used by Picard.
This includes any form of alteration to the positioning of graphical elements within the image (such as advisory, hype or point of sale stickers).
In MusicBrainz website display
As cover art has legal licensing and copyright issues associated, MusicBrainz can display cover art only from the Cover Art Archive, approved cover art sites, linked to by a cover art relationship or ASIN relationship.
In media files
Media players that support cover art display do so in several ways, often supporting more than one mechanism. Images can be:
- stored within the media player's own internal library/database
- stored as a separate file in the same folder/directory as the release, using a naming convention (e.g. folder.jpg)
- embedded within each track's metadata info (e.g. ID3).
We welcome your contribution of cover art images. See How to Add Cover Art for instructions. See Cover Art Types for a list of pieces of the release (e.g. Front, Back, Medium, Obi, etc.) with which images can be labelled.